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Two new hotels approved for construction in Downtown Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Two more planned hotel projects in Memphis received approval Thursday morning.

They're the latest in the the so called boutique hotel trend which is smaller, but upscale hotels. They are filling old, vacant buildings downtown.

While many WREG spoke to are excited about the new hotels, there is also a push for larger hotels that can house conventions, or large groups for events nearby.

Thursday night was the grand re-opening of the Crowne Plaza Memphis Downtown, a 230 room hotel near the Pyramid and Convention Center. After going through a multi-million dollar makeover, it meets large scale needs.

"We have nine hotels that are under construction or planned in downtown which is gonna bring a huge influx of tourists coming downtown," said Leslie Gower, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the Downtown Memphis Commission.

All these tourists need a place to stay. Thursday, the Land Use Control Board gave them more options. They approved construction of a new hotel on Jefferson in the former Tenoke Building.

"Always attracted us Memphis. Downtown has always attracted us," said Vince Veghala with development company JVD.

Veghala, who is spearheading the project, said the planned 156 room hotel helps with the growing need for large scale hotels that can be multi-functional.

"We're planning to have about 200 person banquet facility, about 80-90 people restaurant and bar," he said.

The hotel will be known as Aloft. Construction is slated to start in the late winter or early spring of next year.

Veghala is busy. WREG met with him while he was on site for a Holiday Inn under construction in the Southwind area.

In Downtown we've seen demolition for a  future hotel by the Red Birds stadium. The boutique Hotel Napoleon on Madison recently opened and a 68-room hotel was also approved by the Land Use Control Board Thursday on South Main.

Gower said it's good to see older buildings not sit empty.

"Which is fantastic because a lot of these historic buildings have been sitting empty for awhile. This is a perfect use for them."

Gower said Downtown Memphis needs boutique hotels but now the push is to find larger ones to build or expand in the area.

"We're hoping to see more large hotel projects coming in to support the convention."